arty in Russia has been questioned quite extensively until today. When Stalin was elected general secretary of the Communist party in 1922 a base for his political influence was founded from which he would gain power and take over as the sole dictator of Russia in 1930. Stalin had set himself as leader of Russia before people knew it, and thus he was able to carry out his desired plan. His activities as the leader of Russia brought much controversy to the whole country and to his own party to say the least. He developed a policy with which not many agreed, to ensure the efficiency of his single-party state. His way of dealing with the threats to his concepts were not appreciated by many people. Some chose to go against him, like Trotsky, Bukharin, Khrushchev, Kirov and Zinovyev, who fell victim to his harsh methods of dealing with the opposition to his party and to his policies. However, a single party satate is bound to have opposition and they have to deal with it in some way. The way that they conduct their purges will depend on the strength of the opposition and for Stalin it was a way of putting fear in people to ensure that they won’t go against him.Stalin industrialized the Russian nation very quickly and restored its economy, but at the cost of millions of lives.
The struggle as leader of Russia that he had with Leon Trotsky was not easy and he did not do it alone. He established a ruling coalition with Grigory Zinovyev to prevent Trotsky from taking power. Zinovyev was of great help to him and Stalin was able to obtain ultimate control of Russia. However, Stalin wanted to have all the power for himself and he wanted to do everything his way. He did not tolerate collegiality in leadership and so he was not willing to share power with Zinovyev. Soon Zinovyev became victim to Stalin’s greediness and he was stripped from his position and expelled from the Communist party. Zinovyev did not wait long and he joined Trotsky in a bloc against Stalin known as the “United Opposition.” He was later accused on false charges of organizing a terrorist organization and he was convicted and shot. Trotsky, who Stalin also saw as a great threat to his power, was later assassinated in Mexico. This action by part of Stalin was both necessary and beneficial for him and his party if he wanted his single-party state to work efficiently. Stalin had to end with a powerful person like him and Trotsky if he wanted his party to run well without opposition. As Khrushchev mentioned “This was a stubborn and a difficult fight but a necessary one, because the political line of both the Trotskyite-Zinoviveite bloc and of the Bukharinites led actually toward the restoration of capitalism and capitulation of the world bourgeoisie.”(Khrushchev 146) If Stalin had not dealt with them in that way they could have overcome him and established a more capitalist system, which would go completely against the ideas of his single-party state. Stalin did not accomplish this struggle against Zinovyev and Trotsky alone either. During his struggle against Trotsky and Zinovyev for power in Russia, Nikolay Bukharin helped Stalin to gain that absolute control of Russia. When Stalin stripped Zinovyev of his position as head of the Third international, Bukharin was the one who took Zinovyevs place. Bukharin was gaining positions, which came with power, and Stalin was not happy about that. Stalin did not hesitate to strip Bukharin of all his positions but Bukharin did not stop there. He became editor of the Izvestia, which was the official government paper. His ideas opposed those of Stalin and the fact that he leaned to the right, did not please Stalin. Stalin took the first chance he could and Bukharin was arrested on the charges of Trotskyist activities, during one of Stalin’s purges, and he was executed. If Stalin had not done this, he would have had another person in power with him, who would’ve indeed interfered with his ideas and actions. To do what Stalin did, took the decision of one man, and one man only. If Stalin would have had another person to consult before he took any actions, his policies would not have been half as efficient. Stalin himself deviated from the Political Bureau without asking for its approval for anything and that was completely necessary if he wanted to carry out his plans. Both Bukharin and Zinovyev fell victims to Stalin’s mass repression not just against people like them who helped him but against the majority of the Central Committee members and candidates elected at the Seventeenth Congress of the Bolsheviks.
Once Stalin had established himself as the sole dictator of Russia his hold on the leadership of Russia had been unchallenged. However, he worried about potential conspiracies against him and he started a massive purge of the party, just after the assassination of Sergey Kirov, who was the Leningrad party chief. Many thought that Stalin was the mind behind this assassination since he viewed Kirov as a threat to his power.Again, if Stalin wanted to carry out such actions and such dominion in Russia, Kirov would have been one of many to oppose to his concepts and his actions. Maybe the best way wasn’t to kill him but Stalin had to do something for sure with people like Kirov if he wanted to carry out his plans successfully. This purge carried out by Stalin began gradually with the some arrests in 1934 and 1935, however by 1936 the Soviet police was arresting and executing party members by the thousands. Trials were held where many leading party figures like Bukharin, and Zinovyev were falsely accused and later killed. Stalin’s idea of mass terror spread throughout Russia in the years 1937 and 1938, where thousands of innocent people, yet who opposed Stalin’s ideas, were brutally tortured and assassinated. Stalin originated the term “enemy of the people” where “he eliminated the possibility of ideological fights or the making of ones views known on this or that issue”(Khrushchev 148) This term greatly helped his idea of mass terrorism in Russia. But Stalin did reach his goal with the Great Purge, which was to obtain a government full of officials who were loyal to him alone. Though his harsh methods, Stalin was able to obtain the sole dominion of Russia, his way and with his people.
During Stalin’s rule, the once agrarian-based Russia turned to an industrial nation with the help of a powerful military arsenal. Lenin’s NEP was no longer working and Stalin introduced a policy which forced the farmers and workers into state-owned collective farms. By doing this he stopped labor unions and made the land part of the state, where the people worked for the benefit of the state and not for their own benefit. Stalin wanted to make industrialization grow in Russia and that began the Five-Year Plan of 1928. Stalin believed that Russia had to industrialize rapidly in order to strengthen the Communist regime and in order to gain power and be able to defend itself against enemies. Many party leaders were against this plan and that is why Stalin saw it necessary to conduct a purge if he wanted his party to run his way and without the influence of other people. Stalin had to deal with the idea of order and individual opportunity. Did Stalin need to be more concerned with how the workers, did, how well they worked or with the feelings of the workers? Stalin had to take in mind the fact that he had to have order with the workers, which would in turn make them work better and produce more. But if he gave each of them individual opportunity, there would be more content in part of the workers to him and to his party. So Stalin carried out the Five-Year Plan which was financed by exploiting resources in the countryside. His plan nearly caused the collapse of Russian agriculture and caused the deaths of millions of peasants from hunger. Stalin chose to not worry about the feelings of the people and just about their work. Stalin had to deal with them as well as with other groups like the Kulaks who were always a threat to the state. Stalin told the party workers to liquidate them as a whole class. This purge against them was absolutely necessary. Stalin wanted work to be done if he wanted an industrialized Russia. If he would have worried about the feelings of the workers he would have never accomplished anything. Stalin needed work to be done fast and efficiently and he did not care if he had the support of the workers. Stalin indeed achieved industrialization, which was one of his ultimate goals for his plan for Russia,and it greatly helped the Russian nation, but he did it at enormous costs.
It was very necessary for Stalin to control propaganda and the aspect of culture during his time as dictator. A single-part state has to have an influence on the people in order to create an independent culture. And if a single-part state is going to do this opposition will rise unquestionably and so purges will be necessary. It was more necessary for Stalin to use the art as a way of propaganda for him and for his policies than as a way for the author to express himself and his ideas. The RAPP, which was the Revolutionary Association of Proletariat Writers of Russia, was an aspect that Stalin had to control. He had to control the creators of the propaganda and the RAPP would then get writers to create propaganda for Stalins party. However, the RAPP later started publishing things that were off Stalins desired topic and Stalin thought that that would create problems for his image as dictator of Russia and for his officials. So when the RAPP published these things, Stalin liquidated it entirely. Either the RAPP did everything according to Stalin or it was gone, it was that simple for him. Stalin saw it necessary to run a purge against the RAPP in which he executed most of the writers and ended this organization. This purge could have very well been avoided. The RAPP just published something that was not related to what Stalin had in mind and it was liquidated. Stalin in a way was exaggerated in this aspect.
One has to take into account that Stalin helped the Russian nation like no one else could have done. He turned an agrarian-based Russia, into an industrialized one, and was able to restore its economy. The ultimate step of his revolution was the Great purge, from which he was able to achieve his goals. Stalin was able to construct his own government which would be loyal only to him but at the cost of millions of lives. His purges of society through the use of mass terror deeply wounded the Russian nation but he was able revive the Russian nation. However, Stalin felt that if there was at least a small insight of conspiracy against him, then he had to run a purge if he wanted his party state to suceed. His harsh methods of dealing with opposition and future problems bring him much dislike, but most were necessary to ensure the effective operation of his single-party state. For many, Stalin was an admirable Russian figure who greatly helped the Russian nation, but for others he was one of the cruelest despotic dictators in all history.